Effects of Zn and Ti Nanoparticles on the Survival and Growth of Sclerophrys arabica Tadpoles in a Two Level Trophic System

  • Dalal Al Mahrouqi
  • Sumaya Al Riyami
  • Michael J. BarryEmail author


Under natural conditions pollutants rarely affect only a single trophic level. This study investigated the effects of titanium dioxide (Ti-NPs) and zinc oxide (Zn-NPs) nanoparticles on survival and growth of Sclerophrys arabica tadpoles exposed directly in water, indirectly through their food source (decomposing leaves), or a combination of both. Zn-NPs did not cause significant mortality. The LC50 for tadpoles exposed to Ti-NPs directly was 74.9 µg/L (95% CI 16.6–338.7 µg/L) and 18.3 µg/L (95% CI 6.5–51.9 µg/L) for tadpoles exposed directly and with pre-treated leaves. Tadpoles fed only pre-exposed food did not show significant mortality. Exposure route also affected growth. On average the tadpoles with the lowest body mass were found in the water-only exposures, followed by the water and leaf treatments. However, the tadpoles with the greatest body mass were in the treatments fed with leaves pretreated with Ti-NPs. This suggests that the NPs made their contents more available to the tadpoles.


Nanoparticles Amphibians Feeding Leaf decomposition 



The authors thank the Chair in Nanotechnology at Sultan Qaboos University for providing nanoparticles and measurement of nanoparticle size by DLS. Water samples were analyzed by the Central Analytical and Research Unit (CAARU), College of Science, Sultan Qaboos University. This research was supported by a Sultan Qaboos University internal grant to MJB (Grant No. IG/SCI/BIOL/14/02).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest

Ethical Approval

All experiments complied with ethical guidelines of Sultan Qaboos University Animal Ethics Committee.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biology DepartmentSultan Qaboos UniversityMuscatOman

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